Lance Bishop, Lead Test Engineer
Derek Bahner, Test Engineer II

At our Research & Technology Center (RTC), we perform research that improves the accuracy of our methods and software, as well as contract testing for external clients.

We recently used the PTU for turndown and performance testing of thermosiphon reboilers. Upcoming research includes experimental observations of full or partial differential condensation in E shells. Broadly defined, differential condensation is the reduction in performance due to separation of liquid and vapor phase during mixture condensation. We are also planning liquid-phase heat transfer and flow boiling in F shells over a range of flow regimes.

To accommodate these plans, we will fully equip the PTU to handle two-phase fluid testing with redundant measurements to qualify the steady-state tests with a mass flow balance, a mass component rate balance, and a heat balance.

We are currently modifying the PTU significantly, including:

  • removing the thermosiphon reboiler and associated connection piping
  • installing both E- and F-shell test exchangers, as well as a backup shell-and-plate condenser
  • adding control and measurement equipment to quantify both the vapor and liquid outlet streams
Figure 1: Actual vs. planned mechanical modifications on the PTU

Testing should begin with single-phase fluid for both exchangers near the end of 2023. For more information about the testing capabilities at the RTC, visit Research & Technology Center.